In probably the first of its kind move in the sports sector in India, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), on Thursday declared that it would offer equal prize money for men and women TT players in all the tournaments including national championships across age groups from the new season beginning June 2022.
A statement from the TTFI read: "We hereby decide that women and girl players shall receive equal pay/awards/prize money as their male counterparts in all tournaments and competitions of the game of table tennis."
"This is an attempt by the Committee to ensure equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunity and equal recognition for our women players," the statement by the table tennis board read.
The winners of the singles events in the 2022 senior nationals got Rs 2.75 lakh in the men's section and Rs 1.80 lakh in the women's competition, the huge difference of close to Rs one lakh forcing the CoA to bring about a change.
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"The Committee of Administrators of the Table Tennis Federation of India is deeply concerned about the discriminatory treatment meted out to women and girl players in the sport of table tennis in the context of award of prize money and payments.
"During the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championship recently concluded at Shillong, the deep chasm and differential in the payments in the singles events came to the fore," the CoA of the TT board noted in the statement.
"Sports, it is often said, mirrors society. The discrimination prevalent in society in terms of equal pay and rewards for men and women has persisted even within sports. But this doesn't make it any less egregious. In fact, it is more so because the fundamental essence of all sport is fair play, fairness in action, equality of access, and of opportunity, it added.